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Don't Blow Your Healthy Habits at the Movies This Weekend

Don't Blow Your Healthy Habits at the Movies This Weekend

It's a big movie weekend, for sure. With New Moon finally out, I've already committed myself to spend an afternoon at the theater — the only complication is that I'm not so fond of the movie-theater fare. It's an admittedly challenging place to stick to healthy food choices, since there usually aren't any to begin with. Just in case you don't believe me, recent research is revealing just how unhealthy movie popcorn can be — and it's probably a lot worse than you think.

An article from WebMd highlights the Center for Science in the Public Interest's findings on the state of popcorn, which claims movie theater popcorn is just about as bad for you as "a pound of baby back ribs and a scoop of Haagen-Dazs ice cream or maybe two Big Macs" — and that's before you even add the butter. For the study, researchers sent samples of popcorn and toppings from three different movie theater chains and compared their findings to the chains' own nutritional information. What they found is likely to make you rethink how you view your movie treat.

The study's results show that the calorie count of movie theater popcorn ranges from just about 400 to 1,200 calories, and contains an alarming serving of saturated fat that's equivalent to three days worth of your daily recommended portion, and anywhere from 200 (in the smallest 6-cup size serving) to 1,500 milligrams of sodium. Additionally, the study revealed that both AMC and Regal theaters pop their popcorn in coconut oil, which has a saturated fat content of a whopping 90 percent. Cinemark theaters, which pops their popcorn in canola oil, earns the rep as the healthiest chain, with a significantly lower saturated fat content — ranging from 2 grams in the 420-calorie small size to 5 grams in the 910-calorie large popcorn bucket. But, keep in mind that popcorn is usually just a part of the order — add a soda or your choice of candy, and your order is easily nearing 1,700 calories.

To learn about healthier options at the movies

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To avoid a serious caloric overload on your movie outing, the solutions are simple. Opt to share a small, unbuttered popcorn, and request that it be popped without salt (according to the article, these chains will happily oblige), or knosh on something healthy before you head out. If you can, bring a small bag of almonds or a piece of fruit along. Be smart about your choices, and don't let one afternoon at the movies spoil your healthy habits. It's totally fine to indulge every now and then, but a 1,200-calorie serving of popcorn that packs more saturated fat than you need in three days is hardly a treat for your bod or health.

Image Source: Getty
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jadenirvana jadenirvana 6 years
kscincotta: that is a very brilliant idea! personally as usual i follow my standard "except on PMS" diet which is to bring snickers minis, bag of airpopped popcorn and diet soda except on PMS in which case I will basically dumpster dive consume the real movie theater popcorn and it will be life-changingly delicious.
kscincotta kscincotta 6 years
I usually stop at Starbucks on the way and treat myself to a venti Chai latte. I love savoring it during the film and it keeps me from wasting money on candy and soda.
Acid-Pops Acid-Pops 6 years
I don't really like the taste of theater popcorn so I usually sneak in my own snacks. I'll usually bring nuts (almonds, peanuts), carrots sticks, maki or dried fruits. To drink I'll sometimes bring a small thermos of tea.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 6 years
I rarely go to the movies ($20 for a ticket? EXCUSE ME?) but when I do I bring my own popcorn, and all I might buy is a bottle of water.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 6 years
I've been seeing this story all over the place this week. Didn't we know this already?
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 6 years
MEH. I go to the movies like once a year. I think I can do it once a year.
runningesq runningesq 6 years
There is NOTHING remotely healthy at the movie theater. I am ALL FOR treating yourself but it's impossible to get a smallish treat at the movie theater.. everything is jumbo sized. I try to just eat ahead.. or if I really want something, but a $0.99 candy bar at the drug store and throw it in my purse. chocolate fix at a decent price and way smaller than the big sizes they sell.
Sinnamon-Jones Sinnamon-Jones 6 years
I hardly ever get the popcorn.. but my guilty pleasure at the movies would be the pretzels and cheese. I never eat them, but I must have them at the movies.. I LOVE them... lol.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
We never eat food at movie theaters. Mostly because it's a freakin' ripoff, but also because it's so unhealthy. We sneak in air-popped popcorn and diet sodas in my purse. Hey, it might not be allowed, but if theaters want to make any money on concessions, they should offer some healthy stuff along with the junk.
bethinabox bethinabox 6 years
Yuck. I am never eating food from theaters again. :(
molzy molzy 6 years
I like to pop my own popcorn at home to bring with me. Just fill a brown lunch bag with 1/4 c of kernels, spray a little olive oil on top, a sprinkle of salt, fold the top of the bag over a half inch and staple 3 times. Microwave for 2 minutes (yes you can microwave staples..don't know why but it works) and you have a bag of healthy popcorn all sealed up and ready to go!
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